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8/8/2008 4:38:00 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
California--A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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August 8, 2008

California--A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second
Appellate District today ruled that "California statutes permit home
schooling as a species of private school education."

Today's decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same
three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California
the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained
in effect.

"It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for
rehearing as this court did in March," said HSLDA Chairman Mike
Farris, "but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse
its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God
the glory for this great victory."

When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it
invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs.
"I have never seen such an impressive array of people and
organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling," said Farris,
who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along
with Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jeff Shafer, who represented the
father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United
States Justice Foundation.

California's three largest homeschool organizations, California
Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian
Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the
right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection
Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief.
Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home
education as did California's governor, attorney general, and
superintendent of public instruction.

We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked
tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in
California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your
prayers and support during this trying season.

The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it
free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work
together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California
and elsewhere.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

To read the full opinion click this link:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5612

Below are excerpts from the opinion:

We will conclude that: (1) California statutes permit home schooling
as a species of private school education; and (2) the statutory
permission to home school may constitutionally be overridden in order
to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent.
[FN1: We use the terms "home school" and "home schooling" to refer to
full-time education in the home by a parent or guardian who does not
necessarily possess a teaching credential.]

...

Although the Legislature did not amend the statutory scheme so as to
expressly permit home schooling, more recent enactments demonstrate an
apparent acceptance by the Legislature of the proposition that home
schooling is taking place in California, with home schools allowed as
private schools. Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is
aware that some parents in California home school their children by
declaring their homes to be private schools. Moreover, several
statutory enactments indicate a legislative approval of home
schooling, by exempting home schools from requirements otherwise
applicable to private schools.

...

While the Legislature has never acted to expressly supersede Turner
and Shinn, it has acted as though home schooling is, in fact,
permitted in California.

...

While the legislative history of Education Code section 44237 is
somewhat complicated, it confirms this interpretation, and also
reflects the Legislature's apparent intent to accommodate home
schooling parents.

...

The most logical interpretation of subsequent legislative enactments
and regulatory provisions supports the conclusion that a home school
can, in fact, fall within the private school exception to the general
compulsory education law.

...

We therefore conclude that home schools may constitute private
schools.

...

While the interpretation of the private school exemption is ultimately
an issue for the courts, we find it significant that education and
enforcement officials at both the state and local levels agree that
home schools may constitute private schools.

...

In short, the rule of Turner and Shinn has been discounted as a
doctrinal anachronism, and clinging to such precedent would undermine
a practice that has been, if not actively encouraged, at least
acknowledged and accepted by officials and the public for many years.


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-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1943

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